Persona 5 Is A Great Entry Point For Series Newcomers

The most common question we've gotten, when talking about how much we love the new video game Persona 5, is whether there are lots of people to kiss. The second most common question is: Can you play it without playing the other Persona games? The answer to both of these questions is yes.

Persona 5 is a turn-based role-playing game that mixes high school intrigue, intense dungeon-crawling, and Pokémon-style monster hunting. It is sleek and stylish, an ambitious game that takes around 100 hours to finish but rarely feels too long.

And despite that intimidating number on the end of the title, Persona 5 is a standalone game. It requires no knowledge of the series to play. In fact, given that it's the best Persona game to date, it's the perfect starting point for people who have never bothered to pick up an Evoker.

The fifth Persona comes with a brand new setting, story, and cast of characters. Although it's got a few references to previous games in the series, you can go into it with absolutely no Persona knowledge and still have a great time. Persona 5 is good at teaching you basic concepts -- like how to fuse your collectible Personas and use them to target monsters' weaknesses -- without expecting you to have played other games. And the plot requires no Persona knowledge to appreciate.

Unlike previous games in the series, Persona 5 is friendly and forgiving to players. The dungeons are full of save points, and the game will warn you every time you're about to fight a boss or tough enemy. It can be a challenging game -- look out for Kotaku's tips tomorrow -- but it rarely feels unfair. Whereas previous Persona games (and other games in Persona's parent series, Shin Megami Tensei) liked to steal your progress with bullshit one-hit-kills, Persona 5 is way better about respecting your time.

Don't get me wrong: it will still occasionally steal your progress with bullshit one-hit-kills. You'll just lose a lot less progress than you would have in previous games, where save points were rarer and insta-kill spells like Hama and Mudo were far more common. (Pro tip for Persona 5: Hook up your main character with at least one Persona that's immune to holy and death attacks.)

Also, there are lots of people to kiss.


    Hopefully this will live up to my expectations. First Persona game ever but i tried out Tokyo Mirage Sessions on the Wii U and liked it a lot buy I'm a sucker for Fire Emblem. Anybody got any pro tips?

      1. Do the Confidants, they give you really good benefits that will help you out in the game.

      EDIT: i should add that you will probably not be able to do all of them in a play through, so pick a bunch of people you like and work towards them.

      2. Rotate your saves, the game gives you a lot of slots, instead of overwriting one save keep on making new ones then start overwriting the oldest one once you run out of slots, you never know when you might have accidentally put yourself into an unwinnable situation.
      3. You have a time limit for every boss, manage your time well (this is the number one cause of unwinnable situations that can be avoided by rotating saves).
      4. Pick the Waifu you enjoy, don't let other's opinions change yours.

      Last edited 04/04/17 10:32 am

        Cool thanks for the tips. So there is no way to max stats and confidants in one run through? I.e. complete the game in one run?

      What do you want to know? General gameplay of the series (at least in Persona 3 & 4 - 1 & 2 were different) is basically split between a time management game and a dungeon crawler. Each day there's morning, afternoon and evening, and events will occur during that. Sometimes unskippable, other times you'll be free to pick whatever you want to do, which usually means spending time doing an activity that will boost one of your social stats, or hanging out with a character (mucking around after school, joining and attending a school club etc) which boosts a social link. Each of the characters you can build your social link represents one of the tarot arcana, and the monsters you can pick up and summon are associated with specific arcana so you need to build certain links to make the most of them.

      What it means is you can't completely wing it and you do need to be fairly focused on what you want to do. You can't do everything in a single playthrough and one time through the game is going to be 60-80 hours, meaning the series is really bad for people that have OCD or love to plan everything out to maximise everything. I like the games a lot personally but I've never finished one because the time management element always stresses the crap out of me as you're constantly making choices between stuff which might block off certain options later.

        Yikes that is exactly like me. I have to 100% every character before I'll go near a final boss.

          Then the biggest thing to know is that you can't min-max, you can't do everything and you must allow yourself to make decisions and live with the outcomes or you'll drive yourself crazy.

    I'm yet to play this one, but the other persona games were very forgiving as well. Still struggling as to understand why this is a better entry point, other than the common sense reason that it's newer and currently more relevant than the older titles.

    Hmmm. Intriguing :)

      Wait... Shin Megami Tensei? I played one of them on 3DS. Was surprisingly good.

      Now I HAVE to get this... and have far too much to play...

        Persona has always been a Shin Megami Tensei series, P5 is the first non spin-off/updated version persona game without Shin Megami Tensei in the title!

          Aaaaaaah, well doesn't that just explain all my confusion? :)

          I recall it was a very deep turn-based RPG with demons set in Tokyo... so presumably more of the same? Don't think I've played a game like it since, except maybe FF Tactics.

            From your description I think you are talking about Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (1 or 2, they are both on 3DS) which is another SMT Spin-Off

            Persona is a lot more like the Mainline SMT Games, were instead of a tactical grid like Devil Survivor does it has traditional Dungeons with a proper overworld map. The Battle system is fairly similar to Devil Survivor (if i remember Devil Survivor correctly) just take out the tactical-like parts of DS but keep the actual fighting and demon collection parts of it, and add in some social Sim aspects.

            Definitely give it a shot if you're interested (when you have time).

              That all sounds very familiar, yes :)

              Sounds like a plan! I'll pop into the community review next week.

    The thing that made me stop playing Persona 3 (PSP ver. Very far into the year) and has me balking at starting Golden is that the dungeon crawling aspect was really monotonous. I've watched people playing P5 when it first came out (Take that ATLUS!) and the dungeon crawling looks like it's a lot more varied and interesting this time so I'm kind of keen to check it out. That and the absolute stylishness of it all. Even just moving around looked really slick and fun along with the way you can sneak up on things.

    The one thing that's disappointing is it sounds like it's still Game Over if the leader gets killed despite everyone else being able to be revived.

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